Machining can be conventional, where technicians operate cutting tools manually, or non-conventional, which includes computer-guided processes like computer numerical control (CNC) machining. At JTV Manufacturing, Inc., our team produces high-quality CNC-machined parts with tight tolerances. We are a contract manufacturing company based in Sutherland, Iowa, offering precision flat and tube laser cutting, oxy-fuel cutting, and high-definition plasma cutting, as well as welding, machining, and other customizable steel fabrication services. Read on to learn more about our capabilities, and how CNC machining supports clients in diverse industries.

What Is CNC Machining?

CNC machining is a popular manufacturing method utilizing automated tooling to rapidly cut and otherwise form metal or plastic workpieces into a desired shape. CNC equipment like milling and turning machines, lathes, routers, and more are typically available with three to five axes for a varying range of tooling and workpiece motion. Either one might stay in place while the other moves, or the tooling and workpiece might both have capabilities for motion so that the CNC machine can efficiently carry out its programmed processes.

How Does CNC Machining Work?

An operator prepares a CNC machine by first using computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software, programming in the needed cuts and related operations to generate a component. The software translates that information into dimensional tasks that the corresponding CNC tools and machinery will then perform on command. The inputs in the CNC system that direct tool placement are called the part program. CNC machining is a subtractive technique, meaning that the tooling will cut away raw material from the workpiece until achieving the proper part shape.

How Does CNC Machining Differ From Traditional Machining?

CNC machining is different from traditional machining in the following ways:

  • Automation vs. manual operation. CNC machining utilizes software and automation to instruct and control the equipment for handling a workpiece and tooling. Instead, an operator manually manages all processes and tool movement in conventional machining.
  • Tooling. Compared to conventional machining, CNC machining uses high-speed cutting tools, which help improve efficiency, production time, and product quality, all while reducing the chance of cutting deformation.
  • Repeatability. CNC equipment creates consistent, uniform final products, even during high-volume production. Conventional machining is ideal for producing a one-off customized component, as using human labor makes exact copies impossible.
  • Precision. CNC machining eliminates the chance for human error, producing components ranging from simple to complex with accurate cuts every time. On the other hand, the quality of a final product under traditional machining fully depends on the technician’s expertise and skill.
  • Labor needs. Once programmed, CNC machines perform their work with minimal human input. Traditional machining, however, requires more laborers to fulfill different processes, all requiring abundant training to master the needed skills.
  • Capacities and costs. CNC machining is cost-effective for mass production, making it ideal for large projects. Traditional machining is optimal for small-batch jobs.
  • Fixtures and clamping. CNC machining requires relatively fixed fixtures and effectively controlled clamping. Traditional machining needs special fixtures, which add to expenses and necessitate multiple clampings.
  • Technology in data processing. Data processing in CNC machining has diversified factors. It is possible to arrange several machining tools and parts as the machine’s main line. On the other hand, data processing in traditional machining is complex, requiring consideration of factors such as the clamping and cutting method, positioning datum, and tooling.

What Industries Use CNC Machining?

CNC machining’s versatility lends it to applications in a variety of industries. These include:

  • Healthcare: MRI machines, enclosures, surgical implants, and medical instruments and devices
  • Electronics: Printed circuit boards (PCBs), semiconductors, heat sinks, insulation, housings, and hardware
  • Aerospace: Connectors, spacers, bushings, airfoils, manifolds, and landing gear components
  • Military and defense: Airplane components as well as electronic, transportation, and communication system parts
  • Marine: Propellers, marine vessel components such as engine parts, insulative cases, and prototype molds
  • Automobiles and transportation: Cars, trucks, trains and railways, and shipping vessels
  • Oil and gas: Cylinders, pistons, valves, pins, and rods

Machining Services From JTV Manufacturing, Inc.

CNC machining offers enhanced efficiency, speed, and accuracy compared to its traditional counterpart, especially for large projects that require consistency. At JTV Manufacturing, we have over 20 years of experience exceeding the expectations of diverse clients using our core competencies of laser cutting, welding, CNC milling, and CNC brake and saw services. To best serve our customers, we couple high-quality products with competitive pricing and on-time delivery.

Contact us for more information on our precision machining services, or request a quote today.